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"You're willing to risk your life for people you barely know?"
"You wanna ask questions or you wanna ride?"
—Owen Grady and Kayla Watts(src)


Kayla Watts is an independent contract pilot who delivers captured dinosaurs for buyers around the globe on her signature cargo plane "The Midnight Oiler". Her most frequent customers are Soyona Santos and Biosyn. After one such delivery, Kayla ran into Claire Dearing and Owen Grady at the Amber Clave Night Market, and flew them to Biosyn Sanctuary to help rescue their adoptive daughter, Maisie Lockwood.

Kayla Watts is portrayed by American actress DeWanda Wise in the 2022 movie Jurassic World: Dominion.

Biography[]

Background[]

Kayla Watts is an African-American woman who at some point in her adult life joined the United States Air Force.[1] Kayla says to Owen that much of her family was military and she followed in their footsteps to support them. But flying for the military still wasn't enough to support her and so she left to do private contract work. This included flying illegal cargo for the highest bidders and eventually smuggling dinosaurs around the globe.

After leaving the Air Force, Kayla began flying illegal cargo in and out of Mombasa, where she was noticed by Biosyn, who subsequently began employing her to fly and sell their own illegal products, such as live prehistoric animals, in an underground market in Malta.[2][3] She also began to frequently fly cargo for the dinosaur breeder/dealer Soyona Santos. This was enough so that Santos trusted Kayla with high value specimens. She was also enough of a frequent supplier to Biosyn's private sanctuary that the staff were familiar with her by name.

In February 2021, Kayla delivered four dinosaur species at Biosyn's sanctuary.[4]

At some point, Kayla and Biosyn employee Denise were together in Dubrovnik. Although what exactly happened was unknown, it was enough of an embarrassing event to make Denise nervous when Kayla brings it up while trying to fly into Biosyn's Sanctuary.

Jurassic World: Dominion[]

In 2022, Soyona Santos entrusted Kayla with the delivery of Beta, the offspring of the last Velociraptor Blue, to Malta from California. When she delivered Beta to Santos, she noticed a young girl being escorted from another plane. When she asked a Maltese Smuggler about the girl, they replied it was none of her business.

Some time later at the market, Kayla spotted Claire, Owen, and Barry Sembène walking through and appeared somewhat interested in them. Then Kayla was approached by Wigi, a smuggler who had a job offer for her and was also interested in her caged Lystrosaurus named Leonard. Kayla took his job and also sold Leonard to him, who put it in a fighting pit against an Oviraptor. In the fight, Leonard beheaded the Oviraptor.[5]

Kayla was then approached by Claire in the restroom who asks if she saw Maisie. At first, Kayla refuses to talk and walks away, but is conflicted over the matter. Afterwards, during the Malta skirmish, Claire is chased by Atrociraptor Tiger and winds up hanging from a balcony and is spotted by Kayla. Kayla then decides to help Claire while she falls on a work truck and drives them both towards the airfield while being chased by the Atrociraptor across town. She also managed to pick up Owen as he was being chased by another Atrociraptor and fly out of there. Despite Owen questioning why Kayla, who doesn't know either of them would just suddenly help them, he and Claire accepted Kayla's help as she flew them to Biosyn.

Upon arrival, Kayla wasn't allowed to land her plane. On Lewis Dodgson's orders, Biosyn disabled their ADS, leading a Quetzalcoatlus to attack their plane, causing it to crash. Claire ejects from the plane, and Owen and Kayla crash in a frozen dam at the edge of the sanctuary. When they abandon the plane, Owen further prods Kayla as they cross the frozen water. Kayla admits to her guilt knowing she could have done something to help Maisie, but didn't. Then they come face to face with a Pyroraptor which pursues the two across the lake and onto a metal walkway. But both Owen and Kayla manage to escape through an elevator shaft and Kayla shocks the animal with an electric prod.

Kayla reveals that Claire's ejection seat has a GPS which they can locate her with, and she and Owen walk across the woods. However, they don't find Claire but a deceased deer and her seat. This is when a Tyrannosaurus rex (the same dinosaur from Isla Nublar and Jurassic World) appears to scavenge the carcass only to be met by the valley's dominant predator: Giganotosaurus. The two briefly scuffle before the T. rex walks off and the Giganotosaurus takes the kill.

Later at night, they reunite with Claire at a research outpost, where she is almost spat venom by a Dilophosaurus. However, they stop the dinosaur, thus saving Claire. As they are in front of a research outpost, Kayla climbs up to try and get inside but says it's locked. This is when the three witness the burning locusts fly across the sanctuary. Shortly after, they see a car get turned upside down. Hearing and seeing Maisie, who escaped the Biosyn facility, was inside as she gets out to see them, Owen and Claire embrace their daughter as they were relieved that she was safe. Once they are all reunited, they try to find a way to enter the research outpost.

However, the group are attacked by the Giganotosaurus, but managed to escape it, as Kayla shot tranquilizer darts at Giga, which forced the carnivore to retreat. After the attack, the group tries to reach the HQ, where Kayla will turn the ADS on, which will allow them to fly out of the valley, narrowly escaping the battle between the Tyrannosaurus rex, Giganotosaurus, and Therizinosaurus.

After the Biosyn incident, Kayla buys a new cargo plane, which she named it "Midnight Oiler 2."

Appearance[]

Kayla is an African-American woman in her late 30's, standing 5'6", with dark hair that has blonde highlights and bright hazel eyes. Throughout Dominion, she wears a brown shearling leather jacket, green cropped jacket underneath, a grey tank top, green cargo pants, and boots.

Kayla is always wearing her flight gloves on her hands, one of which she discards after her encounter with the Dilophosaurus. At the end of Dominion, she wears her hair in a pony-tail.

Personality[]

Kayla is something of an honorable person who, while doing technically illegal work such as dinosaur smuggling, has a moral code. Despite not knowing Claire and Owen and her initial hesitation at getting involved, she chose to go help them save Maisie, not only to right a wrong but because it was the right thing to do.

Kayla is also something of a deadpan snarker, responding with quips in dangerous or deadly situations. When confronted by the Pyroraptor she yells out "nope!" before running away. In other situations she either makes a comment or light joke. Her personality could be seen as a bit wicked from her frayed out dyed blonde hair to how she observes guests at the Amber Clave Market.

As seen in the film, Kayla is openly bisexual and notes others' attractiveness. Such as telling Owen how she "likes redheads (Claire) too". Or how she threatens Denise, the Biosyn employee, with revealing what "they did in Dubrovnik". Kayla is also shown checking out Dr. Ian Malcolm's chest before he buttons up his shirt. She is also seen speaking enthusiastically about her adventures to a flight attendant after escaping Biosyn.

Although not a dinosaur researcher, Kayla is shown to have a varied knowledge of dinosaurs, likely given that she transports them for a living. She is aware of several prehistoric species by name and is familiar with their respective behaviors enough to be cautious around certain kinds. Kayla is the one to identify Giganotosaurus on sight where Owen Grady mistakes it for Allosaurus.

Gallery[]

Promotional Images[]

Jurassic World: Dominion[]

Trivia[]

  • Kayla Watts is the second canonical LGBT+ character after Zia Rodriguez in the film series. Her sexuality was confirmed by actress DeWanda Wise and referenced by her lines to Owen Grady, "I get it, I like redheads too", and her ambiguous relationship with Denise.
  • She developed the highest fan-following out of all the new characters introduced in Jurassic World: Dominion due to her snarky yet polite sense of humor and serving as the audience's avatar.
  • The photograph of Kayla's parents seen in the cockpit of the Midnight Oiler is actually a photograph of actress DeWanda Wise's parents.
  • In the junior novelization based on an early script of Dominion, when the Pyroraptor confronts Kayla and Owen, Owen tells her not to look to the dinosaur's eyes, because it would see it as a challenge. "What eyes? I saw teeth. Claws. Feathers. They've got feathers now?", she says. Owen responds, "Always did."

References[]

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